ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A youth sports organization that partners with the St. Louis County Police Department said it will have to reduce the number of activities it offers due to staffing cuts from the department.
In a Facebook post, the St. Louis County Police Athletic League said "the Executive Management of the St. Louis County Police Department has gutted the staffing of the Police Athletic League." The post said three members of the police department were removed from their positions in the program.
"Unfortunately, there will be no way to avoid drastic cuts in the activities offered to our participants," according to the post.
The St. Louis County Police Athletic League, or PAL, is a volunteer-based nonprofit that partners officers with children ages 6 to 18 years old to help coach them in sports, help with homework and other school-related activities, according to the organization’s website. The nonprofit covers the cost of equipment, uniforms, league registration and insurance fees.
“The purpose is to build character, help strengthen police-community relations, and deter children from becoming involved in criminal activity,” the website stated. “Our programs are not only focused on sports but also youth enrichment with educational and youth leadership programs."
On April 13, 5 On Your Side reported impending cuts to the department's Police Athletic League, as well as cuts to the department's Community Outreach unit. Those changes were expected to take place later that month.
A spokeswoman for the St. Louis County Police Department provided the following statement:
"These changes in staffing were made weeks ago. No reduction in PAL services is occurring. This re-allocation of manpower was necessary to maintain our high level of services to our community."
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